Abstract for: Improving Public Perceptions on Water Resource Policies

In the complex world of natural resource management, the involvement of public opinion has become increasingly utilized by policy decision makers across the world, especially in the water resource field. Despite the inclusion of public comment, the public still struggles with comprehending the complex interactions that generate the behavior of the water resource. This lack of understanding within the public can result in strong disagreements over proposed policies surrounding the regulations of said resource. The Palouse Basin Aquifer system and respective communities serve as an ideal setting to test how the creation of a supportive and explorative interface design will promote the publics more cohesive adoption of new policies. Through the use of models that provide an exploratory tool, individuals have the opportunity to actively explore the causes, problems and future consequences that the communities may face. It will empower community members to increase their knowledge of the situation and also feel more equipped to aid in policy discussions (Stave, 2002). By breaking down the aquifer’s intricacies into variables and scenarios, it can even make the complexity of aquifer behavior appear relatable.